Coastal Carolina at Old Dominion FCS Playoffs 2nd Round Breakdown

George Hammond

Coastal Carolina at Old Dominion FCS Playoffs 2nd Round Breakdown

 

#4 Old Dominion vs. Coastal Carolina

If Old Dominion is to win a national championship, the Monarchs know their best chance is right now.  And though Bobby Wilder has built an impressive program in just four years, no one expects Old Dominion to make an immediate impact, at least nationally, when it joins the ranks of FBS schools in Conference USA next season.  So the No. 4 seed Monarchs (10-1, 7-1), who were an at-large playoff qualifier because they weren’t eligible for the CAA title, understand the urgency involved when they begin their quest for the FCS title with a second-round game against Coastal Carolina, a 24-14 opening-round winner over Bethune-Cookman, at 2 p.m. Saturday at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium in Norfolk, VA.  This weekend’s winner will meet the winner of the No. 5-seeded Georgia Southern-Central Arkansas contest on Dec. 7-8, and if ODU wins on Saturday, the Monarchs will get at least one more home game the following week for being the higher seed.

The Monarchs are led by CAA Offensive Player of the Year, Taylor Heinicke. All the sophomore quarterback did this season was lead the nation in passing yards with 4,158, passing yards per game, total offense, points responsible for and touchdown passes at 35.  "I think he's clearly the best player in the country," Wilder told the Dailypress.com after ODU’s 38-28 victory over James Madison in the regular-season finale.  "I've studied everybody's stats. ... Call me biased, but when you throw for 4,200 yards and do it against six teams that were ranked in the top 25, do it with the toughest in-league schedule that anybody had ... we played the top of the league and he had to do it against those teams."

Wilder won’t get many arguments. Heinicke helped ODU post gaudy offensive statistics. Besides his personal numbers, ODU leads the nation in total offense with 538.27 yards per game and is second in scoring average at 44 points a game.  But don’t expect this one to be a 10-7 kind of game because Big South champion Coastal Carolina (8-4, 5-1) can put up impressive numbers of its own. The Chanticleers are No. 16 nationally in scoring offense with 34.25 points and No. 23 in total offense at 429.25 yards.   And their record is a little deceiving. After the Chanticleers won their first two games, they lost four in a row to Eastern Kentucky, Toledo, Appalachian State and Stony Brook, teams that were 34-11.  Even Saturday’s 10-point victory over Bethune-Cookman doesn’t tell the entire story. Coastal Carolina was leading 24-0 in the final quarter for its first playoff victory in three tries. 

“It’s a historical fact, which I know everybody is proud of,” Chanticleers coach Joe Moglia said of securing that first playoff win. “But I think what’s more important is that we’re really able to lay a foundation upon which to build.”

 

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